This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Yet More Evidence of the Impact of Population Growth

This story will not surprise anyone who has read Chapter 11 of my Population text, but it is nonetheless important that researchers continue to examine the role that population growth plays in the degradation of the environment. We have to collectively wake up to this fact and start seriously doing something about it. The latest research is by Thomas Dietz of Michigan State University and Eugene Rosa of Washington State University, in a paper just published in the journal Nature Climate Change, and reported by
“How does population growth influence greenhouse gas emissions?” Dietz asks. “Well, in looking at most nations of the world during the last few decades we find that for each 1 percent increase in population, we get a bit more than a 1 percent increase in emissions.”
And with the Earth’s population projected to reach 10 billion by the end of this century, “it unquestionably will add to the stress we place on the planet,” Dietz says.
Dietz and Rosa write that they are not optimistic about the future, calling the paper they wrote “sobering.”
“The population and economic growth that can be anticipated in coming decades will tend to push emissions substantially upward,” they write.
The only possible saving grace, they say, is improved technology and changes in the way humans use resources.
“However, these changes will need to be huge because they must counter substantial increases in scale coming from population growth and especially increasing affluence.”

Sobering, indeed...

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